I took these photos of Sant'Andrea delle Valle with my iPhone while in Rome this past July, having been in Rome for a few days before joining Umbrian Serenades, and making my way to Spoleto, Italy. I'm sure I may have used these photos before, or perhaps ones like them, but no matter: they jumped out at me as I was going through my laptop, moving and deleting photos to make room for its startup disk. (Yes, that's what happens when you spill wine on your old one, and obtain a new one that doesn't have quite as much storage space: you find yourself moving things.)
I love this church, and have visited it every time I am in Rome. Puccini featured one of its chapels in his opera Tosca, which appears in the first act—an opera I've performed quite a few times in traditional and modern productions; one which was black, white and red with a huge cross on the floor; a rip off—you might say—of another (unnamed) production at the Metropolitan Opera which I saw many years ago. But I am sure those of you with opera brains can guess, no?
Next year will be Umbrian Serenades' tenth season, and I see myself staying at Hotel Mimosa again for a few days, and visiting Tosca's church, with its golden light, saint under the altar, and reliquary doll in the chapel. But that's not what makes my heart sing, which is does every time that I stand in the space. No, that is something ineffable, more sum of the parts kind of thing; part architecture, soaring space, gilt, marble, fine proportions and unmitigated grandeur—the likes of which is hard to come by in Gotham, big buildings notwithstanding. It's the kind of place that makes you, nay, impels you to look up, mouth agape, in awe and wonder.